opinion Opinion September 9, 2019

A first timer’s takeaways from BIGSOUND 2019

A first timer’s takeaways from BIGSOUND 2019
Image: Facebook / BIGSOUND

Having never been to BIGSOUND before this year, I was told to expect a hive of networking activity, and fascinating panels from some of the industry’s best voices, all interspliced with the fun of discovering the best new music Australia has to offer.

It certainly was that, but so much more.

I took on plenty of useful know-how, but made plenty of other, less useful observations.

Here is a mixture of both, making up five takeaways from my first BIGSOUND.

Brunswick Street

Heading towards Sydney airport on Day One of BIGSOUND, I messaged around to most of the people I knew who usually attended BIGSOUND.

The overarching response was “sorry mate, I’m not going, maybe see you there next year”.

If I was worried that I wouldn’t know anyone, I needn’t have been. Stepping out onto Brunswick Street for the first time, I immediately ran into several people that I both knew and didn’t know were heading to Brisbane for the week.

The strip of bars, clubs and venues in and around Brunswick Street is truly fantastic, and I was immediately reminded of a post-lockout Oxford Street, where you couldn’t move 10 metres without seeing someone you knew.


Downloading the BIGSOUND app as I walked off the plane in Brisbane, I immediately began favouriting conference talks and buzz acts I wanted to see.

The app was fantastically useful, and a regular check of what was on next was quick and easy.

The one feature I couldn’t get around was the tinder-style swipe-left, swipe right on people you might know.

I had already connected with pretty much everyone I wanted to catch up with on the online delegate portal, so having notifications and a page come up with a list of faces of people I didn’t know was a bit odd… but it was certainly a talking point.

Illuminati Symbols

It was hugely helpful that the BIGSOUND triangle was located outside each venue to let punters and delegates know where to go.

Is it just me or do they look a bit like Illuminati symbols?

Well, that’s what they came to be known as, as I’d get messages throughout saying “meet me at the blue Illuminati”, which would prompt my response “Illuminati confirmed”.

Publicists Have More Fun

After spending so much time organising catch-ups and pushing their artists at BIGSOUND, it’s no surprise that the nightly activities are time for the publicists of Australia to have a good time.

Apart from maybe those who’ve bought tickets specifically for the festival and gigs at night, it was publicists who seemed to be having the best time at BIGSOUND.

Looking To The Future

While the naysayers will always poke holes in Australia’s music industry, it’s clear that there’s plenty of hope for the future.

Events like BIGSOUND that allow stakeholders from all sides to come together, help us work towards more equitable solutions for artists, labels, managers, tech startups, journalists and more.

I met some incredible people during the week that are changing the way the music business runs, and there’s plenty to look forward to in coming years as we launch into a new decade in this wonderful industry of ours.

See you next year, BIGSOUND 2020.

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